A renowned pianist since the sixties, Martha Argerich has developed a great technical mastery of the piano and a charismatic personality. She started performing at a young age in Argentina, her country of origin, before embracing a career as a successful international soloist. She has always fiercely guarded her artistic independence.
Martha Argerich’s gift for music was noticed at the age of 3 and actively encouraged. At 5 she started taking piano lessons from Vincenzo Scaramuzza and at 8 she gave her first recital, performing a Concerto in D minor by Mozart and a Concerto in C Major by Beethoven. In 1955 she came to Europe to study with Madeleine Lipatti and Nikita Magaloff in Geneva, and later with Friedrich Gulva in Vienna. At 16 years old she won first place at the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition and first prize at the Geneva Music Festival. Her early successes culminated in her winning the International Chopin Piano Competition nine years later. After this victory her international career took flight. Despite touring extensively in the United States, Japan and Europe Martha Argerich has produced very few recordings, preferring to remain free to make choices about her career by not entering an exclusivity contract. As a result the majority of Martha Argerich recordings are of public performances.
Though she has always been naturally keen to perform great works in the piano repertoire, she has played a very wide range of pieces. She has explored the exceptionally rich world of chamber music, collaborating with artists such as Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Itzhak Perlman, Yuri Bashmet, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Stephen Kovacevich, Evgueni Kissin and Nelson Freire, to name a few. Martha Argerich has also supported young musicians. She has been regularly part of the jury for large instrumental competitions, and since 1998 has been directing the Beppu Music Festival in Japan. In 1999, she founded an international piano competition in Buenos Aires, and then the Progetto Martha Argerich (the Martha Argerich Project) in Lugano, Switzerland in 2002.
She is a passionate performer and has gained a reputation as a fascinating but unpredictable musician. Her career as an international soloist has been characterised by masterful renditions of some of the most demanding works and as by concert cancellations and career hiatuses.
Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Martha Argerich
1957 – Was awarded First Prize in the Piano category at Competitions in Geneva and Busconi
1960 – First recording (with Deutsche Grammophon)
1980 – Walked out of the the International Chopin Piano after Ivo Pogorelich was eliminated by her fellow judges
1999 – Launched the Martha Argerich Piano in Buenos Aires
2007 – The Ruhr Piano Festival (Essen, Germany) awarded Argerich a prize for her career to date
2013 – Release of “Bloody Daughter” a film by about Martha Argerich, by her daughter Stéphanie